By Victoria Alexander, Film Critic

Las Vegas Informer

Cate Blanchett is Marvel’s new goddess and deserves her own franchise. This is the best of the Avengers and Hemsworth’s charisma shines throughout, after all, he is the God of Thunder.

If you are sick of superheroes saving the Earth and mankind over and over again, THOR: RAGNAROK throws out that tired template.

Chris Hemsworth as Thor finally enlightens mere mortals with this fact that seems to have eluded all the other superheroes: As Mel Brooks said as King Louis in THE HISTORY OF THE WORLD: PART 1, “It’s good to be the king.” Or, “Its good to be a god.”

Thor is not an anguished, put-upon superhero. He’s a god! He’s the God of Thunder with a mighty hammer he is very fond of showing off. Thor is amused and thoroughly enjoys the perks of being the rightful heir to the kingdom of Asgard – when dad, Odin (Anthony Hopkins),  finally goes to Valhalla.

But there is a glitch in Thor’s overall sense of well-being – he has that “wishy-washy evil” adoptive brother Loki. Blame Odin for not treating Loki with respect. He raises Loki like a son but does nothing to give him stature among the Asgardians. He’s not god of anything. He’s not even considered a prince of Asgard. So, he’s got his reasons. And being small, dark-haired and frail, the Asgardians prefer their gods to look like Hemsworth.

Loki is based on the God of Mischief/The Trickster in Norse mythology. In the myths and legends regarding Loki, he was not adopted by Odin and his biological father was the giant Farbauti and Laufey was his mother.

Most archaic religions have a Trickster entity. In the Yoruba religion, the orisha Exu is known as The Trickster. Exu is the orisha I have an altar to. But one must be careful. Exu is very powerful but a Trickster. He’s not very loyal no matter how many toys or vodka I shower on him.

Thankfully, Thor is back amongst his people in the alternate Universe. Thor does not belong on Earth. Its dull and its cities are grey buildings. Nothing beats the landscape of Asgard.

Loki has survived his apparent death. He’s back in basic black looking tiny, skinny and barely alive.

Thor and Loki must unite to conquer the coming Ragnarok. Its Asgard’s apocalypse. There is no rapture, no salvation of the Good. Everyone goes, even gods.

Guess who turns up for a family reunion?

Seems that Odin destroyed every mention of his daughter Hela (Cate Blanchett) from Asgard’s historical record.

What Odin did was quite common back in the day. Egyptian pharaoh Queen Hatshepsut, a prolific builder who was a regent for her stepson, Thutmose III, was almost obliterated from history after he ascended the throne in the 15th century B.C. Thutmose, and then his son Amenhotep II, systematically removed her image from monuments, reliefs, statues, cartouches and the official list of Egyptian rulers.

In the Roman world it was called “damnatio memoriae.” The decree meant that the name of the damned was scratched (oftentimes conspicuously) from inscriptions, his writings destroyed and his wills annulled. Romans saw “damnatio memoriae” as a punishment worse than execution: the fate of being forgotten.

Hela, who prefers the title Goddess of Death, is furious that Odin erased her from history – even though with her by his side, Odin conquered lands, defeated enemies and ruled the Nine Realms.

What kind of bastard was Odin? He raised Loki to be a failure and hungry for a father’s love and then he banishes his only daughter.

Where was Hela’s mother’s family and why were Thor and Loki not even aware there was a rumor floating around about a gone rogue sister?

Hela’s back and she is a formidable challenger to the throne. She’s drop-dead gorgeous and when she pulls back her hair, her animalistic nature emerges with antlers replacing her hair. Hela’s  S&M costume and the antlers (which get bigger the angrier she gets) gives her a 50s Las Vegas Showgirl vibe. All Hela needs is a few peacock feathers wrapped around her antlers to make a really neat headdress.

After annihilating the palace guards trying to keep her from ascending the Asgard throne, she invites Skurge (Karl Urban) to be her enforcer. Thor is the first of the brothers to feel the wrath of Hela and is sent to the planet Sakkar, lorded over by a soma-sucking pooh bah who calls himself the Grandmaster (Jeff Goldblum). Working on the Roman emperors template for lulling the masses with bread and to-the-death entertainment, he puts on bloody gladiator games.

The Grandmaster has independent contractors looking for anyone who could possibly challenge their star champion. Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson), an alcoholic bounty-hunter, finds Thor and after a fistfight, brings him to The Grandmaster. Thor is the perfect treat to amuse the Sakkarians and The Grandmaster giggles with delight.

Not only does The Hulk make an appearance but a few of Thor’s Avenger’s buddies turn up. Even Heimdall (Idris Elba) makes a return appearance.

The Grandmaster has freed all his inhibitions and his lair is a wonderland of excess straddling Neverland and Rio’s Samba Parade.

There is a very bad-ass victorious champion that Thor will be facing. Guess who?

Its The Hulk (Mark Ruffalo)! He’s been kept in a perpetual state of anger to keep alter-mouse Bruce Banner a fading memory.

Loki also finds himself on Sakkar and after ingratiating himself to The Grandmaster, returns in his Loki-regalia. Loki is majestic now and liberated from his too-tight, too-short black New York City pants.

What makes THOR: RAGNAROK so enjoyable is by dropping Earth, the CGI and FX magic created glorious worlds and a dynamic panorama. Hemsworth – whose star “quote” took a sharp decline after the disastrous Ron Howard film, IN THE HEART OF THE SEA, is back on top. He’s beautiful and credibly likable. His Thor is easy-going, charming and not too impressed with himself. He carries the film as the writers Eric Pearson, Craig Kyle and Christopher L. Yost gave him colorful characters to play with.

With Taika Waititi directing, THOR: RANAROK has a rapturous fun feeling to it. Thor’s playfulness is not comedy because no one wants to see Thor “cracking jokes.”

Since no one really dies in comic books, I am petitioning for a Goddess of Death franchise. If the Marvel Universe wants to bring up a challenger to DC’s Wonder Woman, its Hela the Goddess of Death.

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One Response to THOR: RAGNAROK Review

  1. Horrible, Horrible, Movie.

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